Garcia-Lopez/Kontinen Save Five M.P. To Take Winston-Salem Title
First-time duo denies Paes chance to extend title streak
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Henri Kontinen overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to deny one of the ATP World Tour's all-time greats and take the Winston-Salem Open doubles title 4-6, 7-6(6), 10-8 on Saturday.
After losing the first set, Garcia-Lopez and Kontinen fell behind 1/6 in the second-set tie-break, giving Indian Leander Paes and German Andre Begemann five match points, including three on their serve.
But the Spaniard and Finn reeled off seven consecutive points to take the second set and even the match. In the Match Tie-break, the first-time pairing stayed hot to claim their first ATP World Tour team doubles title.
“We just clutched up and found big serves on big points,” Kontinen said. “It's a lot of luck involved in a comeback like that... We kept believing and somehow found a way.”
Kontinen had won three titles already this season but all with Aussie John Peers (Brisbane, Munich, Hamburg). He paired with Garcia-Lopez by circumstance. Peers wanted to take the week off but Kontinen wanted to play. Garcia-Lopez and his planned partner, Pablo Carreno Busta, had pulled out of the Winston-Salem Open doubles.
“I personally decided to play last minute,” Kontinen said. “[Garcia-Lopez] was looking.”
The win marks Kontinen's 10th career ATP World Tour doubles title. Garcia-Lopez hadn't played in a doubles final since 2014 but celebrates his third career doubles crown. The champions will receive 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Ranking Points and split $35,150.
“Doubles, everything is close. And then we won the tie-break I think our energy went up, that's why we won,” Garcia-Lopez said.
Paes, 43, was trying to win his 56th overall ATP World Tour title and make it 20 years in a row with at least one tour-level doubles crown. Begemann was going for his first title of the season and the fifth of his career. They'll receive 150 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $18,470.